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What You Must Learn From the Big Security Events of 2016

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There is no denying that 2016 is widely regarded as a “bad year”, culturally and politically. But what of the security world ― how did 2016 stack up? And what can we learn from the leaks, breaches, and surveillance increases?

Leak, After Leak, After Leak

While website hacks and data leaks have been a mainstay of our online lives for a number of years, 2016 was the year that everyone was forced to pay attention. Among the numerous casualties were cloud storage provider Dropbox and professional social network LinkedIn.

The Dropbox hack exposed 68 million accounts Are You One of 69 Million Hacked Dropbox Users? Are You One of 69 Million Hacked Dropbox Users? It has been confirmed that 68 million Dropbox accounts were hacked in August 2012. Was yours one of them? What should you do about it? And why did the hack take FOUR YEARS to come... Read More , with only half of all passwords being securely encrypted. LinkedIn managed to surpass this by losing 117 million credentials What You Need To Know About the Massive LinkedIn Accounts Leak What You Need To Know About the Massive LinkedIn Accounts Leak A hacker is selling 117 million hacked LinkedIn credentials on the Dark web for around $2,200 in Bitcoin. Kevin Shabazi, CEO and founder of LogMeOnce, helps us to understand just what is at risk. Read More , or 73 percent of their userbase at the time. Despite this attack coming to light in May, Microsoft still acquired LinkedIn for $26.2 billion less than a month later. Continuing LinkedIn’s bad year, it looks as though their online learning site, Lynda, may have been compromised too .

Spotify suffered a mysterious and still unexplained leak How Spotify Got Stung, And Why You Should Care How Spotify Got Stung, And Why You Should Care he latest Spotify leak might be the strangest one yet. Hundreds of accounts have been splashed on PasteBin. So, what's really going on? Read More in April, resulting in hundreds of accounts leaked on Pastebin. The phenomenally popular game Minecraft was next in line but this time it wasn’t from the company itself. Instead, Minecraft fansite Lifeboat was attacked exposing over 7 million accounts and the site’s poor security practices SEVEN MILLION Minecraft Accounts Hacked SEVEN MILLION Minecraft Accounts Hacked The accounts of more than 7 million members of Lifeboat were compromised earlier in the year, and the data has reportedly been sold to the highest bidders on the Dark Net. Read More .

To be fair to Dropbox and LinkedIn the main bulk of their data appears to have come from attacks that happened in 2012. In the intervening years the respective companies have largely improved their security efforts. However, this is of little comfort to the millions of users whose personal information ended up online.

They Weren’t The Only Ones

U.K. internet provider TalkTalk was hacked by a 17-year-old , video sharing website Dailymotion lost 85.2 million usernames and email addresses , and San Francisco’s transport system was held ransom to the tune of 100 Bitcoins ($80,000).

Last year’sAshley Madison leak Ashley Madison Leak No Big Deal? Think Again Ashley Madison Leak No Big Deal? Think Again Discreet online dating site Ashley Madison (targeted primarily at cheating spouses) has been hacked. However this is a far more serious issue than has been portrayed in the press, with considerable implications for user safety. Read More was widely considered to be the worst adult website leak in history. The release of sexual preferences was particularly damaging as it was used as a tool for blackmail and reputation damage. Having found a useful way to exploit users, hackers attacked more adult websites, resulting in theBrazzers Brazzers Porn Site Leak: Why Everyone Should Be Worried Brazzers Porn Site Leak: Why Everyone Should Be Worried You may have heard that 800,000 users of the adult website Brazzers have had their details leaked -- but did you know that the vulnerability used occurs in other, non-porn websites as well? Read More andAdultFriendFinder Caught in AdultFriendFinder's Massive Data Breach? Here's What to Do Caught in AdultFriendFinder's Massive Data Breach? Here's What to Do AdultFriendFinder, which calls itself "the world's largest sex and swinger community," got hit, and over 410 million account details, including email addresses and passwords, have been posted online. It's one of the largest breaches of... Read More leaks.

These leaks in themselves are all fairly damaging if the attacker accesses the data inside the account. The problem is compounded as it became clear that many people still re-use login information across multiple sites. This culminated in look-like-hacks-but-weren’t of high profile sites likeTeamViewer TeamViewer Hack: Everything You Need To Know TeamViewer Hack: Everything You Need To Know "Protecting your personal data is at the very core of everything we do" says hacked remote desktop service TeamViewer -- but are they protecting themselves before the customer? Let's examine what we know. Read More , andGmail Is Your Gmail Account Among 42 Million Leaked Credentials? Is Your Gmail Account Among 42 Million Leaked Credentials? Read More .

It Happens to Us All

In a twist of irony, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s Twitter account was hacked by the group OurMine. The group also managed to deface Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s Twitter and Pinterest accounts . Not content, they targeted other tech CEOs, including Google’s Sundar Pichai , Uber’s Travis Kalanick , and Spotify’s Daniel Ek . After you’ve finished smirking, you can take satisfaction that these high-powered tech CEOs fall prey to the some of the same security mistakes as the rest of us.


What You Must Learn From the Big Security Events of 2016

The best advice is to start using a password manager How Password Managers Keep Your Passwords Safe How Password Managers Keep Your Passwords Safe Passwords that are hard to crack are also hard to remember. Want to be safe? You need a password manager. Here's how they work and how they keep you safe. Read More . While offerings from LastPass and Dashlane are the most popular, there are plenty of open source alternatives 4 Open Source Password Managers To Keep Your Passwords Safe 4 Open Source Password Managers To Keep Your Passwords Safe Even if you’re accustomed to your beloved and convenient commercial password manager, it’s probably not a bad idea to try other ultra secure applications that offer some of the same features and risk less at... Read More . Once you have secured your passwords, you can enable two-factor authentication What Is Two-Factor Authentication, And Why You Should Use It What Is Two-Factor Authentication, And Why You Should Use It Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a security method that requires two different ways of proving your identity. It is commonly used in everyday life. For example paying with a credit card not only requires the card,... Read More as an extra layer of security.

Yahoo’s Year Went From Terrible to Worse While we are on the subject of data leaks, Yahoo had an astonishingly bad year. After failing to turn the ailing internet company around, Marissa Mayer finally took the decision to sell. Having found a prospective buyer in Verizon Verizon Acquires Yahoo, Pokemon Go Breaks Records... [Tech News Digest] Verizon Acquires Yahoo, Pokemon Go Breaks Records... [Tech News Digest] Yahoo has sold out, Pokemon Go is a record breaker, the Xbox One is going cheap, Netflix nabs new MST3K, and what happens at the end of Pac-Man? Read More , Yahoo then went on to damage its own chances of a sale by admitting that 500 million accounts were leaked Yahoo! We Lost Your Data! Two Years Ago... Yahoo! We Lost Your Data! Two Years Ago... Web giant Yahoo has suffered an enormous data breach. The breach, which took place in 2014, resulted in the information of 500 million Yahoo users being offered for sale on the dark web. Read More two years ago. Oh, and they had been allowing the NSA to have unfettered access to your account Yahoo Has Been Spying on Your Emails for the NSA Yahoo Has Been Spying on Your Emails for the NSA If you have a Yahoo Mail account, Yahoo has been scanning all of your emails to help U.S. intelligence agencies. Which is nice of them. Read More .

Because 500 million accounts and government spying weren’t shocking enough, Yahoo closed out the year reporting that a further billion accounts had been leaked Yahoo Reveals Yet Another Giant Security Breach Yahoo Reveals Yet Another Giant Security Breach Another day, another Yahoo hack. This one dating back all the way to 2013. This particular security breach resulted in the user data of 1 billion Yahoo accounts being stolen. Read More . Go big or go home, right? If you are thinking now is the time to migrate away from Yahoo Mail, there are secure alternatives like ProtonMail Affected by the Yahoo! Breach? Why Not Try ProtonMail? Affected by the Yahoo! Breach? Why Not Try ProtonMail? ProtonMail is a free, open source email service that focuses on security and privacy by allowing users to easily send and receive encrypted emails. But can ProtonMail be a secure replacement for Yahoo! Mail? Read More .

Held Hostageby Malware

Viruses and malware have been a major headache for computer users the world over ever since we began connecting to the internet. Luckily, companies are getting better at catching and fixing security vulnerabilities windows Users: Your Printer May Be Open to Hackers Windows Users: Your Printer May Be Open to Hackers Most people don't think about "printers" and "security" in the same sentence, but there's a new vulnerability that requires your attention right away. Read More so that the impact of any attack is much lower. Never ones to be left out, hackers have turned their attention to the comparatively weaker mobile operating systems like Android.

Two large exploits have been found on Android devices this year. Over the summer details emerged of a vulnerability in Qualcomm chipsets Are You One Of 900 Million Android Users Exposed By QuadRoot? Are You One Of 900 Million Android Users Exposed By QuadRoot? Has your Android device been potentially compromised by American hardware manufacturing giant Qualcomm? New Android bug QuadRoot affects devices running Qualcomm chipsets -- and that's most Android hardware! Read More which are widely used in Android devices, known as Quadroot. The exploit uses one of four vulnerabilities to gain root access to your device. While security patches have been released, the timely distribution of system updates is poor at best, leaving many devices still susceptible.

The second also aims to take root privilege of your device by installing malware,dubbed Gooligan Gooligan Malware Infects 1 Million Android Devices Gooligan Malware Infects 1 Million Android Devices A new type of malware has already infected 1 million Android devices. Dubbed Gooligan, this malware roots Android, giving the hackers full control of people's devices. Read More , on your device. This is done either through a malicious link or rogue app found on third-party marketplaces. This exploit only affects older versions of Android pre-Marshmallow 6.0. Although that accounts for roughly 75 percent of all devices currently running Google’s OS.

The Rise of Ransomware The most problematic malware has without a doubt beenransomware Don't Fall Foul of the Scammers: A Guide To Ransomware & Other Threats Don't Fall Foul of the Scammers: A Guide To Ransomware & Other Threats Read More . Throughout the year the incidences of this incre

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